John Oughton, head of UK professional services at Applied Systems tells Insurance Times why investing in customer self-service software is important for brokers to provide a service that is available around the clock

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause uncertainty for individuals and businesses, creating demand for new service levels in a more remote working environment than ever before.

Overnight, individuals of all different generations became dependent on on-demand services for basic goods like groceries. This level of convenient, on demand service doesn’t stop with consumer goods – your customers expect to be able to interact with your business and understand their insurance policies no matter the time of day or location.

During this time, brokers using self-service online portals have an immense opportunity to provide the anytime, anywhere service and meet policyholders where they are. Customer self-service software allows you to keep your trusted advice front and centre, allowing your customers to review policy information, request changes, make premium payments, report First Notice of Loss (FNOL) and track claims processing via a browser and mobile app.

But investing in customer self-service software is only the first step in the process. The next step of promoting this new offering to your current (and potential) policyholders is equally important. Otherwise, they won’t know it’s available and will not use it. By actively promoting it, you – and your customers – stand to gain the most value from your customer self-service software.

Incorporate your customer portal into your overall web presence and brand

Integrating your customer portal into your larger web presence is a good way to let your customers know self-service is an option available to them. Consider incorporating the self-service login into the top navigation of your website so that it’s always accessible from any web page. Branding your customer portal also presents a more polished, professional look. It gives your customers more confidence when accessing their information, especially if it’s sensitive.

Let customers access self-service via your branded mobile app

Available at the tap of an icon, customers have quicker, more convenient access to insurance information while on the go. A customer mobile app not only gives your customers omnichannel service options, it also gives your business more credibility and builds your reputation as a modern digital insurance broker.

Send an email to announce your new 24/7 customer portal


Use the email functionality in your management system or coordinate with your technology partner to announce your new portal and app to your customers on your behalf. If you work with Applied, we will provide statistics regarding who opened the email, as well as who clicked to access your portal from the email announcement. These reports can be used to track engagement and encourage future adoption of the portal.

Train your VIP customers and large commercial lines customers

Host a webinar to educate your customers about the portal services and its benefits. For commercial clients who require certificates after-hours, promote how individuals can obtain those items online via self-service or offer electronic delivery securely through your portal.

Promote your new portal via social media

Social media is a great way to get information out to your customers. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms to announce the portal, promote its benefits and provide ongoing conversation about its availability to increase customer engagement. You can also regularly post about the portal on social media to entice prospects to do business with you and remind customers about the many benefits they receive by doing business with you.

Update your automated message system to include your portal and app information

Your automated message system is another great channel for delivering important information to your clients. Customers are already listening intently for the representative to answer, so taking advantage of this opportunity to reach them when they call is crucial.

Create a branded insert for your sales proposals

Use the customer portal and mobile app as a unique value proposition when talking to prospects. Let them know that one of the benefits is anytime, anywhere access to customer service and important insurance information. Many brokers already use their customer portal as a value-add when attracting customers.

Update your email signatures to advertise your portal and app

Your email signature provides another opportunity to advertise your self-service portal and app to your clients and prospects. Take advantage of this placement and make it stand out by using your business’s branding and a benefit statement such as, ‘online customer self-service now available. Visit [insert your portal URL here] for details on how to access anytime, anywhere.’

Add notices to your brochures, invoices, renewal documents and statements

Just like in your sales proposals, add an announcement about your online customer portal and mobile app and use it as a unique value proposition. Include a link to your portal or incorporate a quick response code customer can easily scan with their mobile device to get directly to your portal login page.

In uncertain times, it is even more important to keep your customers engaged with your businesses and aware of all the services available to them. When put into use, enabling your customers to access and manage their documents anytime, anywhere, they will feel like they have the unrestricted access to their trusted insurance broker that they crave during a time of uncertainty.


Click here to visit the Insurance Times Etrading Report 2020